Writing is not dead: The PHL Bloggers' The Blog Connect Conference

Recently, a kind person asked me what I did. I told him that I help people tell stories through their writing. “But isn’t writing kind of on it’s way out?” he asked. “I mean, who really has time to read anymore?” At the time, I was speechless. There were so many things (in my mind) inherently wrong with that he was saying, yet he wasn’t entirely incorrect.  

People tell me that they don’t have time to read blogs or newsletters, and that they’d rather watch videos instead. Entrepreneurs in my online Facebook groups say that they’ve given up blogging altogether in favor of micro-blogging on Instagram (when you post a picture and write a paragraph or two below), and boast about how much time they’ve saved. I hear that blogging is passé and on it’s way out. When your profession is centered around writing and reading, it can be a bit discouraging (to say the least) to hear that the art of the written word is dead.

The PHL Bloggers’ The Blog Connect Conference was just what I needed this past weekend to remind myself that while video and images will continue to rise in popularity (I love video and photos with the best of them!), there is and will always be a place for interesting, useful, engaging, and reflective written content.

This was the inaugural year for The Blog Connect Conference, hosted by the PHL Bloggers, a group for Philadelphia bloggers founded by Chrystina Cappello. This amazing event was held at the Saxby’s Headquarters. It was an amazing space, open yet cozy at the same time, which was perfect for the conference.

We started the day hearing from Sarah of smoorelovin and Melissa from Skinny Affair about organizing your website content (I must figure out Google Analytics!). Then, I had the chance to facilitate my very own storytelling workshop! I was so touched by the warm response (read about it here). The only downside was knowing that Lisa from Lisli was facilitating an equally compelling brainstorming workshop at the same time (why couldn’t I be in two places at once?). Then, Bekah of That’s Normal chatted about monetizing your blog and how she started her original blogging business by blogging about Twilight (amazing story!).  

After an amazing lunch, we heard from Kate and Jess from Philly PR Girl about building your blog into a business, and I learned how to take Instagram photos from Amber of ember + march (did you know that Instagram filters actually make your picture quality worse?). I've decided to really work on improving my Instagram feed! At the same time, Keyonna from Stellar Inc. Lifestyle was facilitating a workshop about harnessing your creativity. I definitely wished I could be in two places at once again! The last part of the day was a true highlight – a Community Panel moderated by Gabrille Bill of Career & the City and featuring Bekah of That’s Normal, Emily of Her Philly, Jessica of Jessica Lawlor, and Rachel of The Crafted Life. The topic was creating community through blogging. I loved hearing all of these amazing bloggers’ stories!

We ended the day with a networking happy hour. When I left, slightly buzzed from my half a cider (let’s keep it real), I was left with two conclusions. One, as a blogger and solopreneur in Philadelphia, I need to get out and connect with amazing people more often. Interacting with people in real life beats online groups, hands down. Two, writing is certainly not going anywhere. Sure, there are more distractions than ever, but just witnessing the vast topics that these bloggers are tackling and the communities they are building around their stories was so inspiring.

So, if I ever see that well-intentioned person who asked me what I do again, I will kindly and calmly tell him that writing certainly isn’t on it’s way out. It’s an art form that has stood the test of time, and that will continue to be vital for human connection. I wish I had thought of saying that in the moment!